“…It’s got me hoping for the future
And worrying about the past
‘Cause I’ve seen some hot hot blazes
Come down to smoke and ash…”
a few lines from Joni Mitchell – Help Me
(Thistles at the The Cliffs of Moher/ Co. Clare, Ireland/ Julie Cook/ 2015)
Has the past left you worrying about the future?
Will the future find you wistful for the past?
Does the present find you hopeful about much of anything?
Have you turned on the television, read the paper, seen the stories?
Terror attacks on a beach.
Heads chopped off like weeds.
Migrants flooding across both land and sea.
Legislation turns topsy turvy.
Killings where we worship.
Good guys now set bad guys free.
Sharks lurk hungry in the surf,
While flags flap in the wind.
A culture sees what was and decides it’s now time to
strike it all from sight, from history, from acknowledgment—
Seek and destroy quickly lest anyone notice.
And so hysteria cries foul as the masses must now acquiesce.
Wipe it clean with the sweep of a pen and that’ll make it right.
But do it quick and don’t dare pause to consider the bigger picture.
Just erase it from view and that’ll be the end of it…for now.
Rewrite what was and that’ll keep them happy, quiet, confused…
or out of sight and out of mind as we lose our minds.
Is straddling that fence getting uncomfortable?
Is the grey any more clear?
Upside down for one is now right side up for many.
Thought you knew which way to go? Think again.
Masked and muzzled.
Vaccinated with a passport.
When rainbows once came after the storms and
Hope grew out of the past…
History once directed our future…
and we thought everything simply made more sense…
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal
that has come on you to test you,
as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ,
you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any
other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
However, if you suffer as a Christian,
do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household;
and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who
do not obey the gospel of God?
And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves
to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
1 Peter 4: 12-19
But there must be a real giving up of the self.
You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak.
Christ will indeed give you a real personality:
but you must not go to Him for the sake of that.
As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all.
C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity
(scene from The Chosen when Jesus heals Mary)
To be saved, we must first lose.
The concept of losing doesn’t make much sense to the mind of a 21st-century individual.
Especially to a 21st century American…losing is not something Americans are accustomed to.
Nor is it a concept on the minds of many Americans who are busy with protesting
rioting and looting…losing is not on their radar.
Burdened by so much that is taking place around this pain-racked Nation of ours,
I turned to a new devotional written by the writers of The Chosen.
The following was the entry for Day 3:
To save our lives, we must lose them.
That’s a mind-bender, for sure, but clearly vital to understand.
Jesus said it to the disciples after they’d already dropped everything to
follow Him from town to town.
They sacrificed their careers, homes, and relationships for the man
they believed was the Messiah.
Life as they knew it had turned upside down,
but more would be required of them, and Jesus was doubling down.
He knew what lay ahead. He knew He was leaving.
And He knew they would become pillars of the early church,
in charge of spreading the truth about salvation to the world,
disciplining the masses, and claiming Christ in the face of imprisonment, torture, and death.
They would lose their lives on earth—figuratively and literally–
for the sake of all they would gain in heaven.
And they did it well because their testimonies,
their personal stories of what Jesus had said and done,
were potent demonstrations of His transformative love and power in their lives.
They shared the gospel with an unstoppable, contagious, relentless passion that—
to be honest–seems kind of rare these days.
Well for starters, they weren’t in love with themselves or their own stories.
They weren’t branding their Christian narratives for maximum personal benefit,
approval, or sump[athy…or for clicks or likes.
They weren’t assigning themselves the hero role or belaboring their “before Christ”
dysfunction with all its juicy, sensationalistic tidbits.
When you look at biblical examples it’s amazing how few words are given to their broken pasts–
the almost exclusive focus is on Jesus.
Take Mary Magdalene.
The fact that she was delivered from seven demons is a crucial aspect of her
testimony because it showcases Jesus’authority and why she responded to Him
the way sed did.
And then that’s it.
That’s all the detail we need to know.
In other words, her autobiography wouldn’t have been titled The Dark Years with three hundred pages dedicated to describing the monsters within.
But powerful and effective and glorifying to the one who rescued her?
Not so much.
There’s a reason we meet Mary subsequent to her healing—because that’s where the real story is.
There are a few other things we know about her:
(1) she followed Jesus and financially supported His ministry until His crucifixion,
which means she gave everything she had to follow Him;
(2)she endured the crucifixion and stayed close to Jesus while He suffered and died;
(3) as mentioned in “Delivered”, she was the first person He appeared to after
He rose from the dead, and she was the one He sent to tell the disciples
the universe-altering news.
All because the old was gone and dead.
Jesus had given her new life.
Which means that even if you’ve been a believer for all of ten minutes,
those minutes are entirely more relevant than the twenty, forty,
or eighty years of darkness prior to your conversion.
Reason being, we’re called to represent Jesus and to die to the lives
He saved us from. When we do that, and when He stays the hero of the story,
our words and lives become real-time, potent demonstrations of
His transformative love and power.
40 Days With Jesus
“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.”
I caught the following story on a newsfeed Saturday afternoon.
It was a rainy afternoon and I was bouncing between watching college football games and
peeking in on the day’s news.
The following story is one of those types of stories that catches you from out of the blue
and in turn, leaves you speechless.
I tried to tell my husband about the story but the words wouldn’t come.
Finally, I sputtered that there was a story he’d need to read but that I was
unable to read it out to him nor could I even recap it as it was just “that” kind of story…
because the lump would not leave my throat and the tears were becoming heavy.
Maybe I had the reaction I did because I understood this story.
I understood it on a level that goes beyond simply reading the tale of another.
I knew, as I know, that this is due to my own experiences.
How many of us who have ever lost a loved one yet still had a recording of their voice
lingering on our answering machine or phone’s voice mail?
How many texts or letters do we continue to cling to…reading their words,
reliving conversations, tracing the letters of their individual personal script?
And how many of us have taken painstaking steps to ensure that those recordings
or writings reside in our lives forever…never wanting to lose the sound of the voice
or the written words of the one we have loved and lost….
because if we dare lose that recording or those words, we lose that person all
over again…as the sound of their voice or their written words and
their personal cadence slips aways forever from memory.
I know that when my sister-n-law’s phone fell off their boat this past summer, late one
afternoon when they were at the lake, she was frantic and beside herself with panic.
Her late daughter’s final voice mails were on that phone.
The laughter, the “I love yous”—that surreal sense that she wasn’t truly gone
from her life was dependant upon that phone.
She called us from her husband’s phone frantic to know if we knew how or if she could ever
retrieve those voicemails on a new phone.
I was almost 26 when my mom died.
I mourned and grieved albeit very stoically on the outside…yet on the inside
I was a wreck.
I grew angry, as I still can find myself doing after all these many years later,
angry that she is not here…not here to listen, to help, to offer me her advice,
She missed the birth of her only grandchild.
She missed his growing.
She missed so much, as I missed her so much…
So the story about a 23-year-old Arkansas gal who would text her dad’s cell phone every
day after his death, just to text him her thoughts…
talking and texting into a phone with no voice or words responding back…
but a continued effort of reaching out to his phone,
as she desperately needed to connect to her dad…well, her story left me speechless.
She still yearned for her dad… his wisdom, his strength, his presence in her life.
I could understand that yearning.
She would text and share her ups and downs.
The milestones he was missing…
Little did she know that there was someone listening and reading on the other end of that phone.
For four years he read yet never responded with a word.
He let her just talk or write about her world without her dad.
This went on for four years.
And the twist to all of this turns out that the person on the other end of the phone
was a father who had lost his own daughter.
And so now here was a daughter reaching out to her dad…
and here was a dad who had lost his daughter…
who knew that one phone number was now another’s number.
A number of one grieving reaching out unknowingly to another who was grieving.
Below is a portion of the story along with a link to the full story at the bottom.
I text my dad every day to let him know how my day goes,
for the past Four years! Today was my sign that everything is okay and
I can let him rest!
A 23-year-old woman in Arkansas lost her father four years ago,
but she continued to text his phone every day to update him about his life.
She never got a response from the number, until this week.
Like she did every day, Chastity Patterson, of Newport, texted her father’s number on Thursday,
the night before the fourth anniversary of his death.
“Hey Dad it’s ME,” she said. “Tomorrow is going to be a tough day again!”
In her texts, Patterson recapped all of the highs and lows she had gone through over
the past four years without her father by her side.
She talked about how she beat cancer and has been taking better care of herself
like she promised her father she would.
She talked about how she finished college and graduated with honors and how she’d fallen
in love and had her heart broken,
“(you would have killed him),” she told her father.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me the most,
but one day we will [sic] our chance to watch that game!”
she wrote in her latest text.
This week, Patterson received a response from a man who had been receiving her
daily messages these past four years.
“My name is Brad and I lost my daughter in a car wreck August 2014 and your messages
have kept me alive,” the response read.
“When you text me, I know it’s a message from God.”
“I have listened to you for years and I have watched you grow more than anyone,”
“I have wanted to text you back for years, but I didn’t want to break your heart.”
He said he wished his daughter would have become the woman Patterson is.
“I’m sorry you have to go through this but if it makes it any better,
I am very proud of you!
P.S. I think your father would be happy to know you bought another dog instead of having children.”
Patterson posted the exchange to Facebook.
“Today was my sign that everything is okay and I can let him rest!”
It has since gone viral.
In a later post, Patterson revealed that the loved one she’d lost,
Jason Ligons, was not her biological father, but she called him dad.
“Jason was not my ‘biological’ father, but blood could not make him any closer!”
“He never missed a school dance, prom, my games and YES he would give me long talks
about my mouth and attitude.
I had to introduce my boyfriends to him (If I was allowed to date)
and he would act like a normal dad and give us the long talk,” Patterson said.
“I shared my messages for my friends and family to see that there is a God
and it might take 4 years, but he shows up right on time!” she added.
“The Righteous Among the Nations, honored by Yad Vashem,
are non-Jews who took great risks to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Rescue took many forms and the Righteous came from different nations,
religions and walks of life.
What they had in common was that they protected their Jewish neighbors
at a time when hostility and indifference prevailed.”
Yad Vashem-The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
(96 year old Tibor Biranaski / The Buffalo News / one so honored as Righteous among the Nations )
This time of year there seems to be an overt abundance of stuff and fluff
blanketing our lives.
For we are a people now consumed with all things holiday—
and with what all that entails.
Whether we participate in the madness or not…it doesn’t matter…
because everyone is affected to some level or other and in some capacity or another…
Be it traffic, crowds, travel delays, deadlines, timelines,
weather mishaps, shopping, cooking…there is simply a heightened sense of urgency
racing throughout this month of December.
So when a tiny shining ray of light pierces the chaos, we stop dead in our tracks,
staring as we take notice of this out of place phenomena.
I caught the latest offering by our favorite Wee Flea…his latest mixed bag
of stories highlighting a variety of events and observations–some good, some bad…
with one small story catching my eye.
Saving the Jews –
Tibir Biranaski, was a 22-year-old trainee priest in Budapest who stopped over
3,000 Jews being deported to Auschwitz in 1944.
This lovely video from Channel 4 News shows the 96 year old testifying
to why he did it.
“The Jews were persecuted. I’m a Christian and God created man for freedom.
Everything that is against freedom is devilish”
I clicked the link taking me to a Channel 4 News Facebook video clip featuring a breif
tale of Mr. Biranaski. (link included in the Wee Flea link)
I dug further.
I found a newspaper story about Mr Biranaski’s tale. (link also provided below)
As this is the season of gift giving, we are indeed now given a small gift.
A most timely gift.
A most needed gift.
A single reminder and example of one human being offering himself selflessly
for his fellow human beings.
A story we don’t see or hear much about as such stories are drowned out by the
never-ending din of cultural madness.
A young Catholic priest in training, with great risk to self, worked to keep
3000 Jews from certain death.
How sobering it was stopping long enough to watch the video clip.
How perspective changing to read the Buffalo News story about this now
96 year old man…a former seminarian, husband, father, grandfather, and “savior” to
And yet his story, those countless stories, now grow only fainter and father away
with each and every passing day as the members of that “greatest” generation…
be they Americans or not, are leaving us at an ever increasing rate.
The irony that such a story surfaces now as thoughts are turning towards a
tiny Jewish family wandering their way toward Bethlehem, is not lost on me or
on my sense of wonder.
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not;
and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(The Very Rev. and Mrs David B. Collins–David and Virginia “Ginny” /
Julie N.Cook / 1981)
In this grainy old photo you see two people who were very much in love—
…and those two people were two individuals who I loved very much as well.
He had been a Naval Officer during WWII and she a staring actress in the original
production of Carousel on Broadway—and yet they somehow met, fell in love, married
and loved one another well into their 90’s….
And they had each loved me.
The year of the photograph was 1981 and it was taken during an evening
a group of us had met up at our favorite British Pub in Atlanta.
The Churchill Arms.
One could have walked into this pub and felt magically transported across the
proverbial pond to a different place and time.
I think both young and old in our group that night wished we were all in England–
during a different time.
Back then, back when I was young, at that pub on Thursday nights,
the Atlanta Bagpipes and Drums would hold court and practice.
There were the nightly dart competitions.
And on Friday and Saturday nights, a dear older lady would play the piano
as everyone would gather around to sing rousing renditions of Waltzing Matilda, Keep the Home Fires Burning, Over There, etc….
all the while enjoying a pint of Whitbread, Guinness or New Castle….
Funny thing thinking about a bunch of late 70’s college kids singing Waltzing Matilda
and actually knowing not only the words but what the song was about and when it had actually been popular….
I think the pub is still there…where it was back in my youth…
But it’s now a modern trendy sort of place sans all the typical Anglophile
No longer does it harken back to a better place and time.
As it beckons to the cutting edge millennial…with it’s more otherworldly
bar atmosphere of the 21st century.
It was probably an odd place for a group of college kids to gather along with their
parish priest, the current Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St Philip…along
with this vicar’s wife…..but the church was no small parish,
he was no small church vicar and we were no average lot of kids.
There was very much a homey feel here, there was a fire place, lots of wood—
a place we, a bedraggled little extended “family,”
could all gather to enjoy one another’s company.
A place we could chat, catching everyone up on life at our various colleges and
hear what we had missed at Church.
The drinking age at the time was 18 so we were all good and by the time this
picture was taken, I was well into my early 20’s.
I’ve written about both of them before.
For various reasons…be it because of my adoption, my faith, my family, my life…
as they each had had a prominent role in my small corner of the world.
They each taught me a great deal about life, love, living, dying, fighting,
believing…. as well as lessons about Faith, God, hopefulness, healing and Grace.
They each saved me, more times than I care to recall, from myself.
They each knew of the failings and egregious actions of my life yet
loved me none the less.
As I certainly worked hard at testing that love many a time.
I am who I am to this day because of them.
Better because of who they were.
They actually laid hands upon my head, several times, as they prayed for healing.
Not for a physical healing but for a more profound and more important healing.
A deep spiritual healing.
He was adopted, just like I was.
We shared that—just as she shared us.
She knew the importance of deep healing.
And she knew how important such healing was for both of us and to our pasts—-
to the two people she loved.
They had 4 children of their own…
and then there was me—the surrogate 5th.
They claimed to be my Godparents…by proxy really…for when I was baptized
as an infant, our paths had not yet crossed.
The relationship was set in motion in 1966 when they first moved to Atlanta
in order for him to take the over the position of dean at the Nation’s largest
They are not my parents yet my own parents knew of the great importance and role
this couple played in my life…and where there was jealously there was also
a knowledge that the relationship was necessary for all of us….
Just as their children knew that they were sharing their parents with me
and yet they often spoke in terms of me being “the truly good child”.
Over time, I learned, as I grew and matured, that they needed me just as much
as I had needed them…
life has a way of teaching us such things.
The end of the year will mark a year since he’s been gone.
Her passing was on Tuesday….
And now they are Home, together.
This I know.
Yet that doesn’t make me less sad.
Doesn’t make me feel less lonely.
Doesn’t stop from reminding me that all my parents are now gone…
along with an aunt and uncle, a brother and cousin along with all grandparents.
That all are gone…but me.
Odd how that makes one feel.
Even at almost 60 years of age.
Good-byes are never easy.
There was a time when I could not have weathered this tremendous amount
of loss I’ve experienced this past year…
but I now have a deep knowledge and understanding of Grace.
I am saved by that Grace.
They taught me that…and then some…
“Secularism is no friend of Christ.”
Melody Phillips, journalist for the London Times
(Salvator Mundi / Leonardo da Vinci cica 1500)
Salvator Mundi, or Savior of the world….
A haunting image is it not?
Soft, other worldly and ethereal yet also equally powerful.
Look into those eyes…
At first glance the sockets appear gauzy, almost empty or perhaps out of focus.
Yet upon further inspection, the eyes seem to be like a window, opening into a
different realm or dimension..as in, they invite the viewer to look further
and venture deeper to someplace else.
This particular painting by Leonardo just set a record sale at Christie’s Auction
House, fetching the highest amount ever paid for a single painting…
approximately 450 million dollars.
The buyer is so far undisclosed.
And there is an entire post alone waiting to be written about this particular painting,
of this particular version….but that is for another day—
for today we have more important issues to discuss.
Savior of the World—-
that is indeed, for the Christian believer, Jesus Christ.
He was not simply a moral teacher, a philosopher or Jewish rabbi…
He was, just as He said and just He remains today—
The Savior of the World.
He is of one point to the three pointed triangle of the Trinity.
It is through Him and Him alone that anyone is to be saved.
It is not through good works, it is not through thoughtful actions….
it is only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Therefore to repent.
To die unto self.
To believe in His Resurrection and His saving Grace.
As in nothing done by one’s self…for Grace is beyond self.
Saved from self, from sin, from death…..
That is the summation of the Gospel.
The Bible, particularly the New Testament is the Holy inspired, written retelling
regarding that summation—the Good News.
It is the lynchpin of Christianity.
There is no Heaven, no Salvation, no Grace, no Hope without Jesus Christ.
He is the only way.
And yet today we have mainline churches who are pushing, have pushed,
that one key integral component to Christianity to the side.
It has become secondary to their now all consuming main focus of secularism.
For those who adhere to the progressive Christian narrative,
they are the ones who have decided to make an alliance with those who
push for all things secular…
Progressive, uptick, Christians who now believe and embrace the stance that
the world would have them embrace….and that is to see Christianity in a 21st century,
more modern image.
Yet what they fail to understand is that such a “friendship” will be the death of the Christian Church as we know it.
In the latest interview of Gavin Ashenden on Anglican Unscripted, he makes this
point perfectly clear.
Bishop Ashenden notes that the “anti Christian Secular Narrative is being
swallowed whole as if it is Christianity—
and it is most certainly not”
That narrative being the open acceptance of same sex marriage, openly gay clergy,
the embracing of transgenderism, newly defined family units…
all the while making it clearly known that, anyone opposed to such, shall be
labeled as a hate mongerer…anti love, anti accepting, anti whatever…..
never mind that the lies offered up as a new progressive gospel run counter to
the actual word of God.
In steps a woman named Lorna Asworth.
Lorna is Saskatchewan by birth and was raised as a Mennonite.
But as Life has its way, she married a Brit who was Anglican and so
the UK and the Church of England have now been her home ever since.
That is until most recently.
Lorna has been an active member of the laity who works very closely with the clergy
as she has risen in the lay ranks within the working body of the Church of England.
Yet when someone like Lorna tenders her resignation from said working body of the
Church of England, such a resignation, one would dare assume,
would not, should not, be cause for some sort of henny penny
the sky is falling sort of reaction…yet that is exactly what has happened.
This mild mannered wife, mother and church lay worker who considers herself
a conservative Evangelical Anglican has been active on the Archbishop’s
Council as well as serving in the General Synod for the past 12 years,
has found herself at the center of a growing maelstrom and as somewhat of
a poster child if you will, for the Orthodox voice of the Church.
Lorna recently granted an interview with Anglican Unscripted where she explains her decision to ‘abdicate’ her position from the Church’s working body as
she explains what is currently happening to the Church.
She explains that the Church has lost its way.
It has left behind those who continue to claim the Gospel as the true teaching of the Church. “The Glory of the Lord has departed as the Church of England
is moving outside the presence of God.” “There are now two different Religious communities.
One is rooted in Christ and its right to ask for the Holy Spirit.
The Second is not—and is where Glory has disappeared.”
Lorna verbalizes so clearly what so many others now feel. “What am I to do?”
I didn’t leave them, they left me”
She spoke of meetings where those more conservative members would actually
cite scripture to reinforce a point only to be met by rolling eyes and even jeers
from the more progressive attendees.
She cites that the Church is no longer talking about Jesus and the saving message
of Christ as she actually uses the word heresy when describing what is taking place
within the Church.
And in order for the Church to save herself from the inevitable implosion,
Lorna warns that there must be repentance, from the top down. “We have lost what it is to fear (respect in some translations) the Lord.
If you fear the Lord, you will fear nothing else…and we have lost that.”
And so we leave it to a Jewish woman, one who leans a bit right in her
journalistic style, to write an article for the London Times noting that the departure
of Lorna Asworth from the Church is putting the Church of England on a trajectory
involved in self destruction.
As in it appears everyone gets it but the Church herself….
A church divided will not stand.
Bishops Gavin Ashenden
(a new little pillow for the nursery / Julie Cook / 2017)
Remember it’s a busy weekend as I’ve taken the baby shower on the road…
so time is not exactly my own….
Yet with that said…I did have a few minutes Friday night in between cleaning up the
latest layer of dust from the tile man as I packed up the coolers for a party on wheels…
to catch the latest edition of Anglican Unscripted featuring our favorite
Anglican prelate, Bishop Gavin Ashenden.
The good Bishop addressed several glaring issues, issues that the Church of England seems
to be either ignoring or simply ignorant over…issues that a church worth its salt,
as the Church is the earthly voice of the One Sovereign God and therefore should be more than willing to stand up as well as speak up…yet the Church sends out mixed signals or worse, is woefully silent.
The first story is about a young man named Felix who it seems was booted out of his university in Sheffield for having offered his opinion.
Felix expressed an opinion—not an argument, not a protest but rather a mere opinion.
He had quoted scripture when expressing his view concerning same sex unions,
and therefore was expelled from the school.
As ridiculous as that sounds, it is an actual case that has made its way to the high court in London.
For it appears that English law understands Felix has an opinion but does not have the right to express his opinion.
And surprisingly the lead professor who chaired the committee on campus that heard the
case of Felix’s dismissal is a leading LGTB proponent…
As the segment continued, Bishop Ashenden noted that it appears as if the Church is
being “lead by a pastoral staff of clergy who present God as some sort of
Divine therapist. Yet we don’t need another therapist as there are all sorts of
therapists out there…
So we don’t go to church for therapy…we go to church to be saved from hell,
to be saved from ourselves and to help save a dying world.
We need a Church that is willing to tell the truth about the Gospel…”
And so I offer you the link in order that you may hear for yourself this very wise
cleric…to ponder his rather ominous words regarding the fate of the Church of England
and in turn Christianity in much of Western Civilization…
“Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion”
(image borrowed from web of a gator crossing an interstate near Naples, FL)
Maybe you’ve heard about them…
maybe you haven’t…
And no, I’m not talking about actual alligators crossing the road as in the image above…
Rather I’m talking about something that is equally as dangerous and equally as deadly…
The only caveat is that it’s just not a living creature.
So now that your interest is piqued and you understand that we are not discussing reptiles…
I will explain what exactly an interstate alligator is all about.
An interstate alligator is the dubious moniker for the remnants of the shredded tires from tractor trailer trucks.
More times than not, those big rigs, which are driving on very worn tires, will lose the most worn tires off their rigs to the rigors of constant wear and tear…all while driving on car infested roadways.
As they race up and down the highways, freeways and interstates across this grand country of ours, these worn steel belted tires will basically begin to disintegrate and shred while the truck is clocking 70 to 80 mph.
(image courtesy Real Truck Driver Blog)
Add to that the heat of summer, as the pavement reaches deadly hot temperatures…
With worn tires riding along an inferno of cement and asphalt, we’ve all got troubles!
Imagine huge chunks of tire being slung off a spinning rim, most often unbeknownst to the driver, as the driver isn’t about to be slowing down or moving over to the far right lane in order to exit or move to the emergency lane in order to stop…
Next imagine being the cars behind and beside these big truck as the tire is shredding.
Needless to say there have been many a damaged vehicle as there have been many a fatality as a result of these shredding tires.
The alligator part comes into play when the remnants of these tires are left where they fly then fall—that being the middle of lanes, along the shoulder of the road…just anywhere they finally lose the momentum of flight—as they now lay in wait, lurking and waiting for those poor unsuspecting drivers who are on top of them before being able to slow down or swerve safely out of the way while attempting not to ram into a fellow driver…
Today’s journey to Atlanta, on its infamous perimeter, was like navigating a backwater bayou at full speed while trying to dodge and miss a plethora of both big and small gators all before it being too late before an impending collision.
Cars were slamming on their brakes, erratically changing lanes, hoping the cars beside and behind could get stopped in time.
Holding on for dear life as I made my way through the cement minefield,
I smelled it before I saw it as the air was rife with the acrid smell of burning rubber.
Dodging debris big and small, I soon road past the culprit. A big rig’s second to the back tire was disintegrating faster than he could move over and slow down.
Tire was slinging left and right as cars did their darnedest to dodge the deadly shrapnel.
As I miraculously made my way past the truck and the sea of tire parts without being hit, without running over anything and without being hit by my fellow dodging drivers, I was struck (not literally thank God) by the sheer magnitude of how things can change in one’s life from good to disastrous in literally the blink of an eye.
A ‘now you don’t see it, yet now you suddenly do’ sort of life’s scenario..
Yet we don’t much like thinking of life in that regard.
We don’t like to dwell on the possible and potential negatives of life…
those ‘could be’s’ or those ‘what if’s’ in life…
but what of the sudden and sheer catastrophic…??
We don’t want to live life constantly fretting and worrying.
Yet we do need to always be ready…
Ready for those very instantaneous what if’s.
As in…what if I’m taken out by this interstate monster right here, right now—am I ready for that?
Am I ready if my life is snuffed out just like that?
There’s no time to think,
No time to suddenly and quickly introduce yourself to a God you’ve just kind of always kept in the back of your head…
Kind of like a Santa Claus—
calling on Him in a pinch or when you really need or want something….
This isn’t like the “oh please God don’t let me get caught by that red light again” sort of thing…
Rather this is…there’s a big black chunk of rubber and steal, that’s just come up out of nowhere, hurdling through both time and space with lightning speed right for your windshield and face sort of thing, leaving you nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, leaving you nowhere to duck and cover….
Your relationship with God cannot wait.
It’s that dire, that urgent.
Not because you need to be saved from flying projectiles or hungry debris alligators who are lurking and waiting for when you lest expect it…but because time will not always afford you the luxury of waiting, pondering and deciding, if you want your soul to be lost or to be found…
There is true comfort in knowing that no matter what happens in this life…no matter the dangerous and deadly perils that await us…the catastrophes, the accidents, the random horrible things …
that in and through it all…God is yours and you are His…forever and ever…Amen!!
May you travel in safety my friends…
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah 60: 1-3
“God constantly encourages us to trust Him in the dark.”
A. W. Tozer
(a window in the remains of the once great Cathedral at the Rock of Cashel / County Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)
Piercing the darkness, cutting cleanly as a heated knife through butter, a great light shines…lifting the heavy shadowy cloak which has hung heavy across my shoulders all these many years.
(a window in the catacombs of Christ Church / Dublin, Ireland / 2015)
Stooping beneath the murky weight of obscurity my head lifts as narrowed eyes ache to overcome the brightness filtering into the blackened cell of my heart.
It is as if I’ve spent a lifetime clawing and digging my way to this point, breaking the heavy stones that have sealed me in this often self-imposed tomb of indifference and frustration…as the world has labored, continuing to layer stone upon stone.
Riding the highs of Light filled days, basking in the swirling warmth, a nagging question of endurance darts in and out of consciousness like a moth seeking a flame.
Longed to be ignored yet annoying and distracting.
Shadows lengthen as a chill fills the air.
Exuberance has worn itself out as giddy filled days are a fading memory.
Can I hold on?
Will It hold on…to me…?